The organization that represents FBI agents on Tuesday defended the agency’s work as former President Donald Trump and his allies derided the search of his Mar-a-Lago home as politically motivated.
“FBI Special Agents perform their investigative duties with integrity and professionalism, and remain focused on complying with the law and the Constitution,” said Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association, in a prepared statement.
O’Hare pointed out that all search warrants are issued by federal district court or magistrate judges and have to comply with detailed procedural rules. Agents also work with Justice Department attorneys on its search warrants, he said.
Under the law, any search would need to be authorized by a federal judge after finding probable cause that a crime had been committed and that evidence of the crime exists in the location to be searched.
Agents executed a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday in what two people familiar with the search told USA TODAY was an action related to Trump’s alleged removal of documents from the White House when his term ended in 2021.
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Trump called the search a “weaponization of the Justice System” meant to hurt him politically, a refrain echoed by his Republican allies in the hours after the search became public.
“It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections,” Trump said in a prepared statement.
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday said the Justice Department had “reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” and promised new investigations into the department if Republicans retake control of the House in the midterm election.
“Attorney General (Merrick) Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar,” McCarthy tweeted.
In an appearance on Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., should call Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray before the committee as soon as Friday to answer questions about the search.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said President Joe Biden’s administration was using the department to target its political enemies. But the New York Times reported Monday that White House officials did not have advance notice of the search.
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Republican governors also rushed to Trump’s defense on Monday, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely seen as Trump’s biggest competition for the 2024 presidential nomination.
“They’ve been after President Trump as a candidate, as President, and now as a former President,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted. “Using the criminal justice system in this manner is un-American.”